A Black man in Liberty Township, Ohio has filed a lawsuit alleging that he was apprehended illegally by two West Chester police officers while grocery shopping, according to Fox 19.
Eric Lindsay, the Black man filing the lawsuit, claims he went to a Meijer store, a grocery store, while on his way back home from work. Before Lindsay arrived, a shoplifting offense had just taken place, when Lindsay walked into the store, he was walking behind the officers responding to the crime.
According to Fox 19, the suspect was described to police by staff at Meijer as a white man in his 30s wearing a green or gray Carhart coat with a red hoodie under it. Lindsay is a Black man in his 60s who was wearing an orange puffy coat with a tan and brown scarf.
The descriptions couldn’t be any more different, which is similar to how a Black man was arrested on a white man’s warrant in Las Vegas.
But, the police still stopped Lindsay and the lawsuit claims that he suffered severe emotional distress from the confrontation.
From Fox 19:
“In the same being as so many national instances where African-Americans have been confronted by law enforcement for engaging in their daily lives and doing nothing illegal, this case is about the unsupportable and illegal profiling, detention, accusing, and interrogation of an African-American customer by Police Officers and the complicit actions of the retail store where it occurred,” the lawsuit states.
Lindsay’s attorney, Fanon Rucker, said Lindsay was the only African-American in the store and “is the last person they should have stopped.
“They walked past a dozen or more shoppers, don’t speak to a single one, and go to him and start bothering him,” Rucker said.
The officers named in the lawsuit are Tanner Csendes and Timothy Mitkenbaugh, according to Fox 19.
Lindsay’s attorney, Fanon Rucker, says he has the bodycam footage in which Officer Csendes is heard saying to Mitkenbaugh that Lindsay was looking at him. But Lindsay was not arrested, and instead was questioned in an aisle as other customers observed.
According to Fox 19, Ruckers says that one of the officers told Lindsay that the suspect was wearing a tan jacket and out of frustration, Lindsay told them he was wearing an orange jacket while also using an expletive.
The two officers eventually learned that another officer had the shoplifting suspect in custody and officer Mitkenbaugh apologized to Lindsay saying that he matched the description he and Officer Csendes were given. The Meijer store manager said it was a “big mistake.”